Want to buy or sell a gun? Here’s how it works

Posted Nov. 15, 2009, at 8:50 p.m.

Gun sales in Maine involving licenced dealers are governed by state statute.

When a sale is made, a buyer must provide valid identification (driver’s licenses, etc.) and each licensed dealer must conduct a federal background check, which can usually be done instantly with a computer.

Federal law prohibits the sale from going through if the purchaser is a felon, a fugitive, an illegal alien, has been convicted of a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence, or is addicted to a controlled substance, among other specific provisions.

Once the check is complete, a dealer must record the date of purchase, the buyer’s name and address and a brief description of the firearm, including identification numbers. Those records are then kept by the dealers and can be inspected by law enforcement or legal officials upon request, but the records are not made public.

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In addition, warnings must be posted at any licensed dealership to promote using trigger locks and keeping firearms locked up.

The recordkeeping does not apply to wholesalers who sell to other dealers.

Background checks are also done for sales involving licensed dealers at gun shows.

Private sales between individuals and private sellers at gun shows are not subject to state laws and, therefore, are not monitored.

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